Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mirror, Mirror ...

Today is picture day at LLB's school. I have a weird philosophy about picture day, in that I don't do the "dress up" thing. Don't get me wrong we wear our nice clothes, but we don't go ALL OUT. Even for sittings I do with professionals I stick to nice but basic clothes. Keep in mind, I have a daughter who I LOVE to shop for, so she has lots of clothes and 90% of them are "nice", what I am referring to are frilly dresses and fancy shoes. I like her to look like she does in regular life for her pictures to capture her properly.

So this morning I picked out what I thought was an adorable little outfit, leggings under a very-cute floral printed a-line dress. She looked adorable. Well low and behold we were 5 minutes from school when LLB started whimpering in the back seat, when I asked her what was wrong I got this in response, "my dress isn't PRETTY. I won't look pretty in my pictures." As I tried to explain how pretty I thought she was and how I LOVED her outfit she only proceeded to cry and tell me I was wrong.

My heart broke ... she's 3 years old ... and I felt bad on a myriad of levels. And yes I'm aware that I'm adding my own emotional baggage to this situation.

Level 1 -- Basic Guilt
I had failed my child, by not picking some frilly frock for her to twirl around and say "Cheese" in.

Level 2 -- Self-Esteem Issues
I've suffered through self-esteem issues for 90% of my life. And while these insecurities define me, I hope and pray my child won't face them in the debilitating ways that I have.

Level 3 -- Raising a Conformist
My wonderful, independent child suddenly wants to be just like everyone else ... and I am not allowing her to do that.

Level 4 -- Irrationality
I probably felt the worst for even experiencing Levels 1-3, I'm the adult here, I've done nothing "wrong" and this won't scar her for life. But in the essence of Level 2, I wouldn't be me if I didn't beat myself up.

It got worse as I tried to drop her off at school, she cried actual tears and told me how "unpretty" she was. Stab me in the heart while you're at it kid, why dontcha? I explained to her that she didn't have to take a picture if she didn't feel like it. It was her choice, and then we said a tearful goodbye and I was left to drive home contemplating this traumatic experience.

Before you roll your eyes at me, I realize she is three years old, and that this is only the first of probably a million future instances of similar "issues" that I'll have to face. I just wish these instances didn't fuel my own insecurities so terribly ... I might have to be admitted to a psych ward during the teen years!

Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beholder,

P.S. Her school just IMed to say she did GREAT during photos and even pulled the SuperModel pose! I guess the only one scarred by this experience will be me ... ah the joys of Mommyhood!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Losing Sight But Regaining Clarity

I'm usually fairly light hearted in my blog, but I needed to tackle something that's been swirling around the mommy-sphere for the past couple weeks. Someone losing a child always makes me step back and pause. Those moments when our heads swirl, the fears become overwhelming ... it's almost too much to process.

I heard the news about Maddie Spohr right as it happened, and while I never knew Maddie, or her parents, my heart was ripped to pieces for them. The loss of a child is so profound, so heart wrenching that I sometimes can't even cope. I read their beautiful memories of their amazing little girl, I watched their memorial video and just cried. Once I get past the passing of that beautiful girl I'm left worrying about the parents. How do you go on from something like that?

Then I think of one of my dearest and bestest friends Kat ... Kat and her husband, John, lost their little Kylie to SIDS when she was only 3 and a half months old. Of all the details I know about how the loss affected them the one that brings me clarity is one she only recently shared with me.

Over dinner one night she described sitting in the car after leaving the hospital without their little Kylie and how she and John looked at the empty car seat in the back. Somewhere in the despair of the event they turned to each other and declared that they wouldn't lose each other. As she uttered the words with tears in her eyes, my skin erupted in tingles.

I always think of the effect a loss can have on one person and the isolation and depression that can come with it. And I've always wondered if my own relationship could survive those deepest darknesses. But Kat's words gave me the inspiration to go home and hug my husband tighter. We always think to hug our children tighter when we hear stories about the loss of a child, but I promised myself to hug my husband tighter, too.

I know for a fact that what got my friends through those dark times was their love for each other. And their strength in their love for each other inspires me every day. I love my child with unfaltering depth, as we all do. But it's my husband, who I love with all that I am. I would do anything to protect and shield my child from anything that might cause her harm. But it's my husband who I will face those harms with. He is my partner, the person I chose to share my life with, and together (as a team) I know there is nothing we can't do.

I hope that the Spohrs lean on each other as they weather this rocky road ahead and learn from the strength of their own love. To my friends Kat and John, know that I draw constant inspiration from, and am always in admiration of, the love that you two share.

Hand in hand is how you do it,

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Punisher

LLB is three ... forget the terrible twos, this three year old business is much worse. There are days when I feel like I'm at my wit's end and can't deal with it anymore. My biggest complaint is she won't listen, shocking for a three year old I know! But seriously, I find myself repeating things at least 5 times and it KILLS me!

I'm efficient, I'm a multi-tasker and I HATE repeating myself. DETEST IT! So herein the problem lies ... even if I recognize that her doing something on the first shot isn't necessarily realistic, I cannot take having to repeat myself that many times. Timeouts are a regular in this house, for a kid who used to see the timeout chair once or twice a week at most, she's now averaging 2-4 times a day!

The part I hate the most is I'm fairly certain that I'm not setting a good example. It can't be good that I give her a million chances to do something I want her to do. And it especially can't be good when I threaten her with punishment (for example: "if you don't pick up those toys" -- on the 5th time of asking -- "I will throw them out" -- then as I pick them up to trash them she freaks out and actually snaps to it).

I know I'm not the first, and not the last, to go through this. And I know that what she's doing is right on par with her age. But I need some help with how to punish her properly and effectively because at this rate she's going to be on timeout until she's 12.

If you have punishment or even parenting tips for how to handle this please, please, PLEASE share them!

Three Is Not Company,

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Case of Ms.-taken Identity

I was at dinner the other night with my BFF and her daughter when LLB interrupted us chatting adults by saying, "KAT! KAT!" Kat is the name of my BFF whom we were dining with. This was one of the first times that my daughter had shown an interest in talking to an adult. I interrupted her and told her to say "Ms. Kat", and then was surprised that I had done that.

I'm not one of those people who feels that all children should address adults as Mr., Mrs., or Ms. I'm all for showing respect and some formal conventions, but this isn't one I thought I subscribed to, until now. I'm torn -- I didn't like that she was interrupting our conversation and it felt odd having my three year old using an adult's first name. But I'm not sure I want her to have to address all adults as Mr. or Ms. I certainly don't want her friends calling me Ms. anything.

I'd love to hear what others do with this problem ... do you make your kids use formal titles? Do you even go one step further and do titles with last names, versus first names? I have friends who are very into formal titles and I feel it would be odd for her to have refer to some people with a title and not with others. Who'd have thought a three or two letter word could cause so much dilemma?

She Shoots, She Ms.-es,

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mom 2.0 Summit

I don't know what the future of this little space holds, but I'm inspired sitting around so many wonderful mommy bloggers at the Mom 2.0 Summit so I think there might be something brewing on the horizon!

Stay Tuned ... if you're even still out there